December 27, 2006

Looking Back on 2006 - How to Do It

Last year Doug Phillips posted a brilliant piece on how to think through the year in preparation for a new one

44 Scripture References for Redeeming the Time in 2007

This week our family is considering the blessings and lessons of 2006 as a springboard for our planning for 2007. We have a two stage process.

First, we consider and evaluate 2006. Second, we plan for 2007.

Purpose: that we would be good stewards of the lessons from the trials and blessings of the past year, and to help us do better with our time in the coming year for the purposes of God. Here are some scripture passages that relate to use of time and redeeming it.

Here are 44 verses of scripture which relate to the use of time:

1. Genesis 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

2. Ps 90:12 Teach us to number our days that we may present a heart of wisdom.

3. Proverbs 18:9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

4. Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

5. Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

6. Isaiah 49:4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

7. Jeremiah 32:19 Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:

8. Jeremiah 32:30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the LORD.

9. Jeremiah 51:18 They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

10. Lamentations 3:64 Render unto them a recompence, O LORD, according to the work of their hands.

11. Micah 2:1 Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.

12. Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

13. John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

14. John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

15. John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

16. John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

17. John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

18. John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

19. 1Corinthians 3:13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

20. 1Corinthians 3:14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

21. 1Corinthians 3:15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

22. 1Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

23. Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
24. Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil

25. Ephesians 4:19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

26. Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

27. Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

28. Philippians 2:30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

29. Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

30. Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

31. Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

32. Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

33. 1Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

34. 2Thessalonians 3:12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

35. 1Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

36. 1Timothy 5:10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

37. 2Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

38. Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

39. Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

40. Hebrews 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

41. 1Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

42. 1Peter 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

43. 1Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

44. Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

December 26, 2006

Public Catechizing Will Turn to Little Account Without Family Catechizing

Matthew Henry brilliantly remarks about the superpowerful instruction that takes place in the home. He says that public catechism in the church will not stick, if it is not also done in the home:

"This way of instruction by catechizing does, in a special manner, belong to the church in the house. For that’s the nursery in which the trees of righteousness are reared that afterwards are planted in the courts of our God.

Public catechizing will turn to little account without family catechizing. The labour of ministers in instructing youth, and feeding the lambs of the flock, therefore proves to many a labour in vain, because masters of families do not do their duty, in preparing them for public instruction, and examining their improvement by it. As mothers are children’s best nurses, so parents are or should be their best teachers. Solomon’s father was his tutor, (Prov. 4:3,4). And he never forgot the lessons his mother taught him, (Prov. 31:1)."

From his sermon delivered in April 1704, "A Church in the House"

December 25, 2006

For the Joy and Encouragement in the Land

Matthew Henry, in his sermon, "A Church in the House" contends that godly home life is the wellspring of joy in the larger community,

"The pious and zealous endeavors both of magistrates and ministers for the reformation of conduct, and the suppression of vice and profaneness, are the joy and encouragement of all good people in the land. This is a happy indication that God has yet mercy in store for us.

I do not know of anything that will contribute more to the furtherance of this good work than the bringing of family-religion more into practice and reputation. Here the reformation must begin.

Other methods may check the disease we complain of, but this, if it was universally practiced, would cure it. Salt must be cast into these springs, and then the waters would be healed."

He understands the role of fathers as a work of casting salt into the spring so that the waters would be healed. The healed waters then bubble over into the larger community for joy and encouragement, which is the direct result of the spread of the gospel.

December 23, 2006

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

"God rest ye merry gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay.
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day.
To save us all from Satan's power when we had gone astray.
Oh, Tidings of Comfort and Joy, Comfort and Joy,
Oh, Tidings of Comfort and Joy."

December 22, 2006

"Goodbye Blog" - Problems with angry debates, bloggosphere slander and internet assassins

In a day of broken relationships (and churches) from email debates and bloggosphere slander and internet assassins, here is a thoughtful article by Alan Jacobs who admits certain challenges of the bloggosphere for believers in Christ.

"Goodbye, Blog
The friend of information but the enemy of thought
by Alan Jacobs

Following are some excerpts from the larger article:

“I think first of the extraordinary anger that seems to be more present in the blogosphere than in everyday life. Debate after debate—on almost every site I visit, including the ones devoted to Christianity—either escalates from rational discourse into sneering and name-calling or just bypasses reason altogether and starts with the abuse.

Partly, this derives from the anonymity of blog comments: people rarely identify themselves by their real names, and the email addresses that they sometimes provide rarely give clues about their identity: a person who is safe from substantive reprisals is probably more easily tempted to express rage.

There is no privacy: all conversations are utterly public. The arrogant, the ignorant, and the bullheaded constantly threaten to drown out the saintly, and for that matter the merely knowledgeable, or at least overwhelm them with sheer numbers….

Right now, and for the foreseeable future, the blogosphere is the friend of information but the enemy of thought."
Alan Jacobs is professor of English at Wheaton College. For the entire article:

Of course Mr Jacobs is correct, but if the users of the bloggosphere pay attention to the principles of communication outlined in scripture, the bloggosphere becomes a tool in the hand of God instead of a divisive relationship shredder.
For more on this subject see my sermon on gosssip 8/20/2006

December 21, 2006

Grave Stone Inscriptions That Inspire and Instruct

Claudia Brown on Burial Hill with Doug Phillip's, Vision Forum Faith and Freedom Tour in Plymouth Mass.

On Burial Hill in Plymouth Mass., we stood over the graves of Adoniram Judson the great missionary to Burma and William Bradford, pilgrim Governor of Plymouth in 1620. But there are others who are unknown who lived lives of praise toward God. Here is one of my favorite inscriptions our family read over Thanksgiving holidays on Vision Forum's Faith and Freedom Tour:

"He spoke the meaning of his heart
Nor slandered with his tongue,
Would scarce believe an ill report,
Nor do his neighbor wrong"

Captain Chandler Holmes Jr
Oct 4, 1851 27 years old

I trust that if he lived in the internet age, the same would have been said of him. May his tribe increase!

Messy Church Life in Acts 8

This week, our church is studying Acts 8 which exposes messy church life from the persecutions that wracked the church, and the difficulties that came from the salvation of particular converts.

1. Notice the savagery against the church and the good outcome. Satan will never stomp out the church or the blessings of Christ even when he harrasses or even kills her people.

2. Notice the effect of the gospel on the people in the city – "And there was great joy in the city", (Acts 8:8).

3. Observe the two men who were saved through the ministry of Philip: A very worldly man with lots of baggage (Simon the sorcerer) and a servant of a queen from Ethiopia, who had been emasculated (Ethiopian eunuch). Each of these men had been harmed greatly by incorporating the ways of the world into their lives, but had begun a heavenly journey in which they would be included into the fellowship of believers. By God’s grace, they would establish new lifestyle patterns, but many of the old ones would persist for a while, and some of the old ones might even be hard to shed for the rest of their lives.

4. Think of how the ways of the world have infested our lifestyles and how Christ is redeeming us through His patience. And, lets extend this mercy toward others and consider being a patient people who are not too put off by those who are healing up from their tenure in the world… people who don’t yet live or dress keep their hair, or skin or raise their children quite right according to (our) perfect standards.

December 19, 2006

Revive Family Worship

In 1704 Matthew Henry preached a sermon in London entitled, "A Church in the House" where he makes the case that fathers have the responsibility before God to make thier homes "little churches". He argues that this does not displace the local church and her authority and responsibility, but that scripture requires fathers to provide daily spiritual training in the home.

Here is a paragraph where he addresses the situation where a father has let family worship lapse,

"... let those that have kept up family-worship formerly, but of late have left it off, be persuaded to revive it. This perhaps is the case of some of you. You remember the kindness of your youth, and the love of your espousals. There was a time when you sought God daily, and delighted to know his ways, as families that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinances of your God; but now it is otherwise. The altar of the Lord is broken down and neglected, the daily sacrifice is ceased; and God hath kept an account how many days it hath ceased whether you have or no, Dan. 8:13, 14. Now God comes into your houses seeking fruit, but he finds none, or next to none. You are so eager in your worldly pursuits that you have neither hearts nor time fore religious exercises. You began at first frequently to omit the service, and a small matter served for an excuse to put it by, and so by degrees it came to nothing.

O that those who have thus left their first love would now remember whence they are fallen, and repent and do their first works. Enquire how this good work came to be neglected. Was it not because your love to God cooled, and the love of the world prevailed?

Have you not found a manifest decay in the prosperity of your souls since you let fall this good work?

Has not sin got ground in your hearts and in your houses? And though when you dropped your family-worship you promised your selves that you would make it up in secret worship, because you were not willing to allow your selves time for both, yet have you not declined in that also?

Have you not grown less frequent, and less fervent, in your closest devotions too?

Where is now the blessedness you have formerly spoken of?

I beseech you lay out your selves to retrieve it in time. Say as that penitent adulteress, Hos. 2:7,

"I will go and return to my first husband, for then was it better with me than now."

Cleanse the sanctuary, put away the strange gods. Is money the god, or the belly the god, that has gained possession of your heart and house?

Whatever it is cast it out. Repair the altar of the Lord, and begin again the daily sacrifice and oblation...

I beseech you, sirs, make a business of your family-religion, and not a by-business. Let it be your pleasure and delight, and not a task and drudgery. Contrive your affairs so as that the most convenient time may be allotted both morning and evening for your family-worship, so as that you may not be unfit for it, or disturbed and straitened in it; herein wisdom is profitable to direct."

December 08, 2006

Unloving ears that are greedy for an ill report

I am working with my children and myself, on our understanding and behavior on both sides of gossip: the listening ear and the wagging tongue... both are important areas to understand.

Jonathan Edwards in his exposition on 1 Cor 13, convicts of our sin when we are pleased to hear evil of others,

“Some are always so ready to catch up an ill report that it seems to be pleasing to them to hear evil of others. Their spirit seems greedy of it; and it is, as it were, food to the hunger of their depraved hearts. They feed on it as carrion birds do on the worst of flesh. They easily and greedily take it in as true without examination, thus showing how contrary they are in character and conduct to him of whom Psalm 15:1-3 speaks as dwelling in God’s tabernacle and abiding in his holy hill, and of whom he declares that “he taketh not up a reproach of his neighbor.” They show also that they are rather like “the wicked doer’ who “giveth heed to false lips,” and as the “liar’ who “giveth ear to a naughty tongue.” , From, "Charity and It's Fruits", P182

Anniversary of the Death of Richard Baxter Today, Dec. 8

Richard Baxter, 1615-1691

It would do pastors well to know that today marks the death of Richard Baxter, who was arguably, one of the most effective pastors of all time.

He was born in 1615 and died on this day in 1691.

Here are some of Maurice Roberts revealing comments on Baxter,

“First, he was a pastor. He wrote a classic book on this subject which is still in print 300 years later and more, entitled The Reformed Pastor brought out in 1656. Baxter catechised systematically with his assistant here in Kidderminster at the rate of fourteen families per week, and his intention was to teach the people by question and answer in their own home situation, the basic teachings of Scripture. His ambition was to cover all the eight hundred families in the parish in one year…

And then, thirdly Baxter was a man of affairs. As well as preacher, he was chaplain in the Parliamentary army, 1642-47…
He was in prison for his faith for one week at Clerkenwell gaol in 1669 and then again for twenty-one months in Southwark gaol, 1685-6. He was a famed leader of the Nonconformists, but especially of the Presbyterians and he corresponded with a wide circle of persons, being looked up to by thousands of Christians in his time…

Then in the line of great preachers we have the words of C. H. Spurgeon to this effect: 'I remember when I used to awake in the morning [he means as a child] the first thing I took up was Alleine's Alarm or Baxter's Call to the Unconverted. 'Oh, those books, those books!' exclaimed Spurgeon looking back, 'I read and devoured them'…

Picture Kidderminster again in Baxter's time: the Sabbath days that he speaks about in which the crowds of people on the Lord's day were either singing the psalms as they went about or else speaking to one another of the content of the sermons. What an extraordinary difference between that and the typical Sunday we know of today in our country!...

O for more men like this! O for such a preacher as Richard Baxter was! O for this plain, searching dealing with the souls of sinners! O that God would raise up a thousand Richard Baxters and that we would have in our pulpits men of this calibre, and in the open air, on the radio and on our television, preaching in every corner of the land! May God hasten the day when such things shall be and when Baxter's gospel, in all its plainness and power, shall be trumpeted again across the housetops and in the churches of our beloved land!” From Richard Baxter and His Gospel, by Maurice Roberts

Baxter was always heartily at work at his writing, producing hundreds of books and articles which he often took with him on his house calls to read to the families he was visiting. I have been told that only 40% of his works were ever republished.

December 07, 2006

The Spirit of Charity the Opposite of a Censorious Spirit

As part of our family devotions, I have been reading sections of a commentary on 1 Cor 13, , “Charity and its Fruits” by Jonathan Edwards. We recently covered some of Chapter 10, “The Spirit of Charity the Opposite of a Censorious Spirit.” I am doing this to prepare my children for a life of proper use of their tongues, refraining from a censorious spirit, when the temptation might come upon them as neighbors or church members or employees.

Definition of "Censorious"; it is thinking and speaking the worst of someone through, as says, "faultfinding, harshly critical, carping; expressing censure: "was censorious of petty failings."

Text: “Charity thinketh no evil’ 1 Corinthians 13:5

“Doctrine: The spirit of charity, or Christian love, is the opposite of a censorious spirit."

“A censorious spirit, or a disposition to uncharitably judge others, consists in a disposition to think evil of others, or to judge evil of them, with respect to three things: their state, their qualities and their actions… It shows itself in a disposition to think the worst of those about us”

“… It appears in a disposition to overlook their good qualities, or to think them destitute of such qualities when they are not, or to make very little of them; or to magnify their ill qualities, and make more of them than is just; or to charge them with those ill qualities that they do not have.” P180

Jonathan Edwards on Public Life in the Community

This wonderful citation from chapter eight of Jonathan Edwards book, Charity and its Fruits: The Spirit of Charity the Opposite of a Selfish Spirit

"And as the spirit of charity, or Christian love, is opposed to a selfish spirit, in that it is merciful and liberal, so it is in this also, that it disposes a person to be public-spirited. A man of a right spirit is not a man of narrow and private views, but is greatly interested and concerned for the good of the community to which he belongs, and particularly of the city or village in which he resides, and for the true welfare of the society of which he is a member. God commanded the Jews who were carried away captive to Babylon to seek the good of that city, though it was not their native place, but only the city of their captivity. His injunction, was “Seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it. Jeremiah 29:7.

And a man of a truly Christian spirit will be earnest for the good of his country and the place of his residence, and will be disposed to lay himself out for its improvement.”

Charity and Its Fruits, Jonathan Edwards, Soli Deo Gloria, p146

November 30, 2006

Mortifying Sin in the Family

John Owen

I have been reading a good book, “Overcoming Sin and Temptation” which is a compilation of three works by John Owen edited by Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor.

Here is a section I read to my family yesterday.

"The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin. So the apostle, “mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.” (Col. 3:5). To whom does he speak? Such as were “risen with Christ’ (v.1); such as were “dead” with him (v3); such as whose life Christ was and who should “appear with him in glory” (v4)

Do you mortify;
Do you make it your daily work;
Be always at it while you live;
Cease not a day from this work;
Be killing sin or it will be killing you." p50

November 28, 2006

The Exemplary Manhood of the Puritans

The business activity of the godly Puritan father was not conducted to the exclusion of his family, nor his family conducted to the exclusion of his business. He was well rounded and knew how to keep all of his priorities functioning and in order. The Puritans were not homebound hermits but world changers - starting with their wives and children. They were not morbid, but happy that God had everything in their control. They never asked, "who am I?", for they knew they were made in the image of God and had a sin nature, and they never asked, "why is this happening to me?", for they believed that God works "all things after the counsel of His will.

This reminds me of how the puritan, Colonel John Hutchinson, who lived in the time of Oliver Cromwell maintained a wide range of interests, yet without neglecting the most important ones. His wife, writing to her children about their father shows forth this same breadth of responsibility. She describes his physical characteristics and then his lifestyle and character,

“But withal he had a most amiable countenance which carried in it something of magnanimity and majesty, mixed with sweetness, that at all the same time bespoke love and awe in all that saw him.” “He was nimble and active and graceful in all his motions; he was apt for any bodily exercise; he could dance admirably well, but neither in youth or in riper years made any practice of it; he had skill in fencing, such as became a gentleman; he had a great love of music;… he had good judgment in paintings, graving, sculpture, and all liberal arts, and had many curiosities of many kinds; he took many pleasures in the improvement of grounds, in planting groves and walks, and fruit trees; he was wonderfully neat, cleanly genteel in his habit. “He hated persecution for religion, and was always a champion for all religious people against all oppressors.” “Neither in youth, nor riper age, could the most fair or enticing woman every draw him into unnecessary familiarity or vain converse or dalliance with them, yet he despised nothing of the female sex, but their follies and vanities; wise and virtuous women he loved, and delighted in all pure and holy and unblameable conversation with them.” “For conjugal affection to his wife, it was such as whosover would draw out a rule of honor, kindness and religion, need no more, but exactly draw out his example; never a man had a greater passion for a woman, nor a more honorable esteem for a wife. He governed by persuasion, which he never employed but to things honorable and profitable for herself. He loved her soul and her honor more than her outside, and yet he had for her person a constant indulgence.” “So constant was he in his love that when she ceased to be young and lovely, he began to show most fondness; he loved her at such a kind and generous rate as words cannot express.” “ He was as kind a father, as dear a brother, as good a master, and as faithful a friend as the world had.”

“He understood well, and as well performed when he undertook it, the military art in all parts of it; he naturally loved the employment as it suited with his active temper more than any, conceived a mutual delight in leading those men that loved his conduct, and when he commanded soldiers, never was man more loved and reverenced by all that were under him.” And “they loyed as much in his commands as he in their obedience.” He had a sweet and loving courtesy to the poorest, and would often employ many spare hours with the commonest soldiers and the poorest laborers.”

from, The Puritan in England and New England, by Ezra Hoyt Byington DD, P223-224, 1896

November 27, 2006

A Pastor's Plea for Love in the Church

The Pilgrims Pray before departure to New England

Here is an excerpt from Pastor John Robinson's Letter to the church before the pilgrims left from Southhampton for New England:

"Loving Christian Friends,

First, as we ought daily to renew our repentance with our God, especially for our sins known, and generally for our unknown trespasses, so doth the Lord call us in singular manner, upon such an occasion of difficulty and danger as lies before you both to more narrow search and careful reformation of our ways in His sight, lest He, calling to remembrance of our sins forgotten by us or unrepented of, take advantage of us, as a judgment whereas, on the contrary, sin being taken away by earnest repentance, and the pardon thereof from the Lord sealed up into a mans conscience by his spirit, great shall be his security and peace in all dangers, sweet his comfort in all distresses, with happy deliverance from all evil, whether in life or in death.

Now next after this heavenly peace with God in our own conscience, we are carefully to provide for peace with all men so far as in us lieth especially with our associates; and for that we must be watchful with we ourselves neither give, nor easily take, offense. Woe be unto the world for offenses; for though it may be necessary (considering the malice of satan and man’s corruption) that offenses come, yet woe unto the woman or man either by whom the offense come, saith Christ (Matthew 18,7). And if offenses arising from unseasonable actions, innocent in themselves, are more to be feared than death itself, as the apostle teacheth (I Corinthians 9,15), how much more when arising from things simply evil, in which neither honor of God nor love of man is thought worthy to be regarded. Nor is it sufficient that we keep ourselves by the grace of God from giving offense, except we be armed also against taking offense when it is given by others. For how imperfect is the work of grace in him who lacks the charity that covers a multitude of offense, As the scripture says. Neither are you exhorted to this grace only on the common grounds of Christianity. Persons ready to take offense, either lack the charity which should cover offenses; or the wisdom duly to weigh human frailty; or lastly, are gross though close hypocrites, as Christ our lord teaches (Matthew 7,1-3). In my own experience I have found few who are quicker to give offense, than hose who easily take it. They who have nursed this touchy humour have never proved sound and profitable members in societies.

But there are, besides, many reasons why you, above others, should use special care in this direction. You are, many of you, strangers to each other to the infirmities of one another, and so stand in need of the more watchfulness, lest when unsuspected qualities appeare in men and women, you be inordinately affected by them. This requires at your hands much wisdom and charity. Further, the plans for your intended civil community will furnish continual occasions of offense and will be as fuel to the fire, Unless you diligently quench it with brotherly forbearance. And if taking offense causelessly or easily at men’s doings. Shall be so carefully avoided, how much more is it to be heeded lest we take offense at God Himself, - which we do as often as we murmur at his providence in our crosses, or bear impatiently such a afflictions as He pleases to visit upon us. Store up, therefore, patience against the evil day, which we take offense at the Lord Himself in His holy and Just works.

A fourth thing is carefully to be provided for, for wit, that with your employments, which will be common to all, you join affections truly bent upon the general good, avoiding, as a deadly plague of your comfort, all retiredness of mind for selfish advantage. Let every one repress within himself, as so many rebels against the common good, all private partialities, not consistent with the general convenience and as one is careful not to have a new house shaken with any violence before it is well settled and the parts firmly knit, so be you, I beseech you brethren, much more careful, that the house og God, which you are and are to be, be not shaken by unnecessary novelties or other oppositions at the first settling thereof."

Of Plymouth Plantation, by William Bradford, P54-55

November 23, 2006

A Week of Thanksgiving and Remembrance

This week is a very special week in the Brown family. We are celebrating Thanksgiving in America's Home Town, Plymoth Mass. We have some dear friends living here and are attending their daughter's high school graduation, and are joining Vision Forum's Faith and Freedom Tour. It is a week of thanksgiving.

"That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works" Psalms 26:7

Claudia and Friends in the parade in Plymouth leading a scale model of the Mayflower, built by our Hawaiian friend, Justin Thain.

We want it to be a week to remember the faith of our fathers and to give thanks, and to further envision our own pilgrimage as a family. The pilgrim fathers who came before us had such a clear and compelling understanding of their charge to bring glory to God, for the evangelization of the natives of New England and to provide for their families.

This is the first time we have seen Peter and Kelly since their wedding... Thanksgiving Day is Kelly's birthday.

The Faith and Freedom Tour, takes us to the historical sites and monuments that have been erected that tell the stories of our heritage. What I like most about Doug’s speeches at the monuments is that they are filled with citations from original documents.

I desire that as for me and my house, we will always be a thankful family. I know that this is only possible when one has a vision of God at work in all things and particularly in having a providential view of history. Giving thanks is a great gift because it puts us in the position of encouraging one another by rendering to one another an understanding of the goodness of God in all things. This is consistent with the Old Testament, word for thanksgiving, the Hebrew yadah, which means “to extend the open hand.”

Visiting the Thains at 1 Leyden Street

We started the week as guests of our friends the Justin Thain family at the Plymouth Thanksgiving parade. Though they live in Hawaii, they recently purchased a property in Plymouth for their love of the history of the spread of the gospel. During the 19th century, their native Hawaii was evangelized by missionaries sent out from this area. Their home on 1 Leyden Street was the first building of the Pilgrims and it was also, the first hospital, the location of the signing of the treaty with Massasoit, first church meeting place, the first trial... It was the common house for the pilgrims until they were able to build their own individual dwellings, originally owned by William Bradford, with his son selling it in 1690.

The parade was organized by the Plymouth Rock Society whose members include many Pilgrim descendents. They are dedicated to preserving the true story of the Pilgrims which has been disfigured by disconnection from the original writings, and sanitized to remove the religious roots.

This week is also the anniversary of the signing of the Mayflower Compact. The Compact begins with the words, “In the Name of God, Amen.” Anyone saying that the pilgrims did not come here primarily for religious motivations simply has not carefully considered the original documents.

Bill Potter, one of the lecturers pointed out that the politically correct spin on the Pilgrims brings up images of George Orwell’s book, “1984.” In this important book, “Big Brother” corrects “inconvenient” information from the past. The main character, Winston Smith has a job at the “Ministry of Truth”, in their records department, where he is charged with going through newspapers, cutting out the inconvenient information and putting it into the “memory hole”. History must comply with the “Party’s’ version of the past. Thus, the true stories are rewritten, and conveniently lost.

Plymoth Rock – a rock of remembrance of the past.

Rocks are used to communicate truth about God from the beginning to the end of the Bible. There are rocks of remembrance and the rock of our salvation (Gilgal, Christ… Ex 17:6, Deut 32:4, I Sam 2:2, Isa 8;14, Ex 28:9-11, Josh 4:20)

Plymouth Rock is a symbolic rock. Actually there were two important rocks here: Pulpit Rock which is on Clark Island where William Bradford held the first church service and then Plymouth Rock which is on the waterfront at Plymouth where the Pilgrims landed in 1620.

What motivated the pilgrims to come here? You can take the word of the spinmeisters of today or you can go to the original documents and believe William Bradford who lists the reasons, recorded in "Of Plymouth Plantation"

1. The employment situation was untenable to them. P19.
2. They believed heavier persecution was coming, p20.
3. The protection of their children from the liscentious peers influencing them, p21.
4. They desired to lay Christian foundations and the “propagation and advance of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world, even though they should be but "stepping stones to others in the performance of so great a work”, P21.

Church of the Pilgrimage, the First Church in New England. Many of the church members are direct descendants of the Pilgrims who worshiped here in 1620.

We listened to Dr Gary Marks who is the 30th pastor in succession from John Robinson. He spoke of Robinson as his mentor and quoted him often.

Here are some interesting facts about this historic church that might seem odd to us today. The main meetings of the church included all the children. Women could not teach or speak in church according to scripture, but could sing as loud as their husbands. They entered into covenant with one another as church members. Pastor Marks indicated that it was their covenant which held them together. He said, “This church was the new beginning of a Christian covenantal commonwealth – a holy city set on a hill.”

We paid a visit to Plymouth Plantation with their wonderful re enactors in vintage apparel who speak to you as if they know nothing beyond May 1627. Engaging them in conversation about the church, business, family life or theology is lots of fun and a rich educational experience.

Here John Cook, now 20 years old (in 1627), tells us of life in Plymouth Plantaion and at our request, sings Psalm 100 from his Psalter.

Trip to Salem to Consider the Lessons of the Salem Witch Trials

Dr. Paul Jehle, lectured on the tragic situation in 1692 where the backbiting and talebearing of eight young girls between the ages of 7 and 16 brought accusations of120 people of witchcraft of which 19 were hanged or drowned or pressed to death as well as two dogs hanged as the children said the dogs gave them the evil eye. Of those executed, ten were leading Christian women in Salem and the first one to be hanged was Rebecca Nurse, widely known as one of the town’s most dedicated prayer warriors. People today hold this incident up as an example of the foisting of Puritan values and biblical law on society. It was exactly the opposite. Rather it was an example of pseudo Christianity disguised in people who were upstanding citizens, went to church and quoted the Bible and yet were filled with bitterness.

Marker for Rebecca Nurse, the first one killed

Here are five forces that created the crisis:

1. Fathers allowing destructive influences into their homes. Pastor Samuel Parris allowed a Carribbean slave girl named Tituba to influence his daughter and other girls in the community with fortunetelling, séances and other activities. These girls were the accusers.

2. Fathers refusing to discipline their children for unloving hearts and behavior. When Giles Corrie stood up in the trial and said in effect, “I can solve this in a few minutes… these girls need to be spanked by their fathers.” The girls accused him of witchcraft, he was convicted and pressed to death. These fathers were not in control. They were not exercising good government in their houses by allowing dishonor toward people in the community.

3. Fathers who brought in and allowed gossip in their homes about members of the community. Earlier the town had divided into two factions based on a business disagreement. Interestingly enough, ALL of the people accused were from the other side. The result was people in the courtroom picking up other people’s offenses.

4. Church government out of control as evidenced by Reverend Samuel Parris who refused to use biblical Matthew 18 kind of processes to confront individuals involved with gossip in the church. It can also be said that he was personally unqualified for his position on the basis of scriptural requiremt to manage his household well. Further Mr. Parris, was involved in several disputes over his salary, his supply of firewood, and the ownership of his house, among other things. Many believe that bitternesses fostered through his salary as pastor and taking sides in a town dispute was one of the sources of the problem.

5. Judicial excess in violating legal processes of justice and the rejection of biblical laws regarding evidence - particularly the admission of spectral evidence in the court room (testifying that so and so’s ghost appeared and tormented someone). This was the sole evidence for many of the convictions.

It was a witches brew of church and home and government out of order.

Cotton Mather

In desperation, the town authorities called upon Puritan pastor, Increase Mather and his son Cotton, who spoke out strongly against the trials, calling for implementation of the Biblical principle of two or three witnesses and the process for receiving testimony to avoid "justic"' by gossip. The Mathers brought sanity to the situation and the trials ended and the accused were released from prison. The Reverend Samuel Parris was driven from the village.

Five years later, Jan 15, 1697, there was repentance in the legislature calling for a day of fasting and humiliation. when Judge Sewell repented of the judicial methods he allowed. The Judge acknowledged his “blame and shame.

Repentance for the false accusations and gossip finally came over twenty years later, when one of the girls who had made the false accusations came into the church and repented, and that repentance marked the beginning of the Great Awakening. It was not until there was repentance of the gossip in the homes and the public meetings, and lack of love that this movement of the Spirit of God was unleashed.

The Salem Witch trials are testimony for what happens when the three jurisdictions are out of order - and when they are out of order at the same time, there is big trouble. The family, the church and the civil government had strayed from their God ordained operation and function.

Pilgrim Serenade

We Celebrated Thanksgiving Day at Plymouth Plantation with an original thanksgiving dinner with the same kinds of food the Pilgrims ate... and giving thanks after the manner of Lev 7:12, Neh 12:8-46, Ps 26:7, 69:30, 107:22, 147:7, Eph 5:4, Col 2:6-7, Col 3:15, Col 3:17 and Col 4:2.

Here we are on Coles Hill, at the monument to those who died during the first winter. Only seven people were healthy enough to care for the sick during that first winter. They started with 29 women - 14 died.

Doug Phillips lecturing at the Pilgrim Mother Monument... The 7 women who survived the first winter in Plymouth, have given birth to 30 million documented descendants.

Arnold Pent and Family

Don and Victor Hart

Listening to Lecture at the Pilgrim Mother Monument, with a future mother, God willing.

The Turleys

My Sweet Blair

November 21, 2006

Chapter 4 Charity Disposes Us Meekly to Bear the Injuries Received From Others

Chapter 4, Charity Disposes Us Meekly to Bear the Injuries Received From Others

1 Corinthians 13:4 "Love suffers long and is kind"

Edwards first lists the kinds on injuries we might suffer. Here is a summary: “unfairness, dishonesty, taking advantage, unfaithfulness, not fulfilling promises, asking unreasonable prices, neglecting to pay debts, unnecessarily putting neighbors in trouble. He says the worst and most common are “Some injure others in their good name, by reproaching or speaking evil behind their backs.. spreading false reports, misrepresent things, exaggerating faults, dislike or even hatred.” P61-62

He says that we should EXPECT these, for how else can longsuffering and kind live be expressed if there were not a reason to express them.

Then he says that these should be born with meekness and love. I found this most helpful and something that we should help our children understand with perfect clarity: “when the injuries we suffer are allowed to disturb our calmness of mind, and put us into an excitement and tumult, then we cease to bear them in the true spirit of long-suffering. If the injury is permitted to discompose and disquiet us, and to break up our inward rest, we cannot enjoy ourselves and are not in a state to engage properly in our various duties”. P67

“Love for God disposes men to see His hand in everything, to own Him as the governor of the world and the Director of providence, and to acknowledge His disposal in everything that takes place.” P73

Chapter 3 The Greatest Performances or Sufferings in Vain Without Charity

Chapter 3
“The Greatest Performances or Sufferings in Vain Without Charity”

"Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

Edwards proposes that acts of “love” without sincerity is nothing more than serving an idol.

The title tells all: “all that men can do and all that they can suffer cannot make up for the lack of sincere Christian love in the heart.” P47 He reminds that many of the Pharisees did great things, great pilgrimages and privations and so have many ungodly have had great fame and had their names exalted by their outward expressions but without sincere love in their hearts. This is worthless. He says that if we work without love, we are a clanging cymbal… a mechanical machine just making noise. One should not think that “we can make up for one debt by paying another”, and “withholding what is required” – a heart of love in the service.

He says that loveless service is service to an idol. “Whatever may be done or suffered, if there is no sincerity in the heart, it is all but an offering to some idol.” He notes that some people do acts of service for recognition or some benefit and these may be simply idols that have stolen sincere love. ‘… how absurd to suppose we can make up for withholding form God what is His due by offering something to our idol! It is as absurd as it is to suppose that the wife can make up for want of love to her husband by giving that affection which is due to him to another man who is a stranger; or that she can make up for her want of faithfulness to him by the guilt of adultery.”

“Natural unrenewed men would be glad to have something to make up for the want of sincere love and real grace in their hearts. Many do things to make up for the want of it, while others are willing tot suffer great things.” P57

This is an appeal for love from the heart, not simply mechanical obedience for reasons of self gratification.

November 20, 2006

Chapter 2 - Love Greater Than All Other Gifts

Chapter Two
Charity More Excellent than the Extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit

In this chapter, Edwards says that love is greater than all gifts or accomplishments. I Cor 13 is the proof. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophesy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” 1 Cor 13:1-2
Edwards draws from these words that charity is more excellent than the extorardinay gifts of the Spirit. This means that love is pre eminent over all other accomplishments. Love is the greatest of all accomplishments

He exalts love over all gifts as I Cor 13 does. He observes that the Apostle Paul compares love with other gifts such as tongues, gifts of prophesy, understanding of all mysteries, and knowledge and faith that can remove mountains.

“The ordinary influence of the Spirit of God working the grace of charity in the heart is a more excellent blessing than any of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit.” P25

“Salvation is promised to those who have the graces of the Spirit, but not to those who have merely the extraordinary gifts. Many have these last and yet go to hell.” p35

November 18, 2006

Chaper 1 - Love, the Sum of All Virtue

Notes from Jonathan Edwards, book, "Charity and It’s Fruits: Christian Love as Manifested in the Heart and Life”

Chapter 1, Charity, the Sum of All Virtue

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophesy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1 Cor 13:1-3

The main point of chapter one is that “all virtue that is saving, and that distinguishes true Christians from others, is summed up in Christian love. p3

He defines love as “disposition or affection whereby one is dear to another” p2

“The Spirit of God is a Spirit of love, and when the former enters the soul, love also enters with it.” p5

“There are not two works of the Spirit of God- one to infuse a spirit of love for God and the other to infuse a spirit of love for man-but in producing one, the Spirit produces the other also.” p5

“It will dispose men to meekness and gentleness in their carriage toward their neighbors, and not to treat them with passion, violence, or heat of spirit, but rather with moderation, calmness, and kindness. It will check and restrain everything like a bitter spirit; for love has not bitterness in it, but is a gentle and sweet disposition and affection of the soul. It will prevent broils and quarrels, and will dispose men to peaceableness and to forgive injurious treatment received from others. As it is said in Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirreth up strifes, but love covereth all sins.” p8

“The scriptures teach us that love is the sum of all that is contained in the Law of God, and of all the duties required in His Word.” P10

More Love in the Brown Home

Jonathan and Sarah Edwards Promoted Love in their Home

Jonathan Edwards is for me a kind of summarizing personality for the important issues of his day and ours as well. He grappled with the growing secularization of the colonies, the greatness of God in an environment that was increasingly man centered, the tensions from the growth of medical technology advances in the church, the educational “improvements” that were taking hold and the theological forces at work that led to the Revolutionary War.

As a result of a desire to promote more love and affection and kindness and mercy, tender affinity and encouraging speech in our home, I wanted to find some good writing to help us grow in this area. I selected a book by Jonathan Edwards to help us center our thoughts on what the Bible says about love, since there are so many things in our hearts and in the world around us to dampen love.

So, this week our family is looking for ways to promote love between us as family members and hopefully that we would be more vigorous in spreading love out beyond it. So I am now reading a book by Jonathan Edwards which is a commentary on 1 Corinthians 13 called, "Charity and It’s Fruits: Christian Love as Manifested in the Heart and Life”.

I am reading a chapter a day personally and then giving the whole family the sense of it during the day. The book is Jonathan Edwards book on I Cor 13, published by Soli Deo Gloria, entitled,

In the forward to the book, publisher R.C. Sproul says, “1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most demanding and humbling pieces of divine revelation we may ever encounter.”

November 10, 2006

231 Year Anniversary US Marines Today

Today is the 231 year anniversary of the United States Marines. I want to expresss my gratitude.

The poet said it well,

"Storm’d at with shot and shell
Bravely they rode and well
Into the Jaws of Death
Into the Mouth of Hell

The Defining battlefield of the Marine Corps inthe twentieth century was the Battle for Iwo Jima during WWII. This fact, coupled with the importance of honoring our fathers led Vision Forum to make the following movie, League of Grateful Sons:

I have thought about Iwo Jima all my life. Sixty years after the battle in 2005, we returned to Iwo. When I stood atop Mt Suribachi with my father and two of my children, it was the most beautiful place in the world to me. It is the land of my childhood dreams because it is the battlefield of my father’s youth. This is where my father flew fighter planes, defended our country and bought me a future.

Three generations of Browns stood on the ground where the the US Marines raised the American flag on Mt. Suribachi. It was thrilling for me to be there with my father and my children and look over the battlefield, and see with my own eyes the places my father told me about all my life. We were there with Marine, Bill Henderson and his grandsons and the Geoff Botkin film crew and Doug Phillip's, Vision Forum, maker of the movie, League of Grateful Sons. While we were standing there my dad opened his pocket wartime Bible and read out loud, of God's promises and His grace.

Iwo Jima was the Battlefield of My Father’s Youth. His manhood was forged there. Funny how hard things are sometimes the best things.

Standing on that mountain, I closed my eyes and pictured the stories of the wreckage and the craters and the floating dead bodies and the smoke and the fire and the stench. In my minds eye I could see Bill Henderson storming the beach and my father in his P-51 Mustang coming in from a raid, banking in around Suribachi "coming in on a wing and a prayer". It all came to life for me.

He was just a boy back then. They were all boys. It is shocking to think that it was nineteen and twenty year old boys who fired Howitzers and flamethrowers and dove on grenades. They flew B 29’s and P51 Mustangs and saved the world from Hirohito and Hitler. Let's not forget that. Lets make a big personal, walk along talk along discipleship investment in the youth around us today.

November 07, 2006

How to Understand the Old Testament

See Albert Mohler's Blog for a great piece on Eugene Merrill's book, Everlasting Dominion: A Theology of the Old Testament.

Here is the text:

Eugene Merrill's Everlasting Dominion -- A Major Contribution to Old Testament Theology
Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2006 at 2:29 am ET

Dr. Eugene Merrill, has recently published his theology of the Old Testament. Everlasting Dominion: A Theology of the Old Testament was released by B&H Publishing Group and it belongs on every pastor's bookshelf.

At the end of his volume, Dr. Merrill restates his theological premises. Consider this statement:

"At the onset we have, without apology and equivocation, undertaken our work with the settled conviction that the Old Testament is the written word of God, revealed by him to the prophets of old, preserved from error in matters of fact and doctrine, and authoritative for both Israel and the church. We have made no effort to argue the point or provide evidence for it except to remind the reader that this is the Bible's own understanding of itself and the studied opinion of virtually all pre-Enlightenment Jewish and Christian scholars and laity alike. How one views the question of bibliology has obvious consequences for his theology so we have not on purely a priori grounds adopted one stance as opposed to another. Indeed, the position advocated here is the fruit of many years of careful and prayerful consideration of all the issues involved and reflects more than just a casual acquaintance with the difficulties inherent in any evaluation of Scripture."


"In the final analysis, the whole corpus--the Word of God and the words of men--is revelatory, the product of a process of divine redactionism that guarantees that every part is precisely as it ought to be, contributing to the redemptive message for which it is intended. This lends to it a cohesion, a united and self-consistent presentation from beginning to end that cannot be explained by any number of documentary or redactionary theories of human creativity but only by the self-evident fact of the originating and controlling work of the Spirit of God. This leads to a further premise, one that logically follows--the expectation that a single Author has a single overarching message that can be readily detected. Moreover, that message itself, if it is to be understood in any meaningful way, must be informed by a central theme of themes, a story line that leaves no question as to the Author's intentions and desired effects."

Several pages later, he writes this important paragraph:

"Fundamentally, the issue of the relationship of the testaments--whether theologically or hermeneutically--boils down to the nature of the whole. If one is of the conviction that the Old and New Testament alike are the Word of God, revealed and inspired by him, the difficulties largely dissolve, for the authorship and, hence, the intertextual connections of its various parts (both testaments) not only find theological justification but hermeneutical warrant as well. Authors of texts have dominical rights to those texts and from their privileged position can employ whatever devices or methods they choose to communicate and interpret their own writings. Who, then, can question the Holy Spirit of God on the matter and charge him with hermeneutical impropriety should he "violate" modern rules of hermeneutical theory?"

What a magnificent and timely paragraph! Professor Merrill's words are well-stated and important. Of course, in this day these words are also controversial, for a restatement and reaffirmation of biblical authority -- especially in dealing with the Old Testament, is out of step with the modern mind.

Eugene Merrill is one of the most respected scholars of the Scriptures in our times, and readers of Everlasting Dominion willl reap the fruit of Dr. Merrill's life-long commitment to the study of Old Testament theology.

October 24, 2006

Christ on my Right, Christ on my Left

Missionary activity throughout the centuries in the church has born much fruit.
For example, in Ireland Patrick was converted in AD 385.
He was used of God to continue the work of evangelism in Europe.
Here are two of the soul fortifying hymns he wrote:

Today I arise, through God’s strength to guide me!
God’s might shall uphold me,
God’s wisdom shall lead me;
God’s eye looks before me;
God’s ear shall hear for me,
God’s word shall speak through me;
God’s hand shall protect me. –

For Christ is now with me, before and behind me;
Christ is within me, and beneath and above me.
Christ is on my right, and Christ is on my left
Christ is where I sit; and Christ is where I sleep.
Christ is where I rise, each day I get up.
Christ is in the hearts of all who recall me.
Christ is in the mouth of all who address me.
Christ is in the ear of all who do hear me.
Translated by F. Nigel Lee

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Riches I heed not, or man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High king of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heav’n’s joy, O bright heav’n’s Sun.
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.

October 18, 2006

Foundation for Love in the Church - The Gospel

Here is an excerpt from good article by John Piper from an exposition of Romans 16 on the subject of brotherly/sisterly affection in the church. Below is an excerpt and then a link in case you would like to read the whole article.

May it be that we would never see one another the same again, as we contemplate what we have been saved from.

"The Foundation of Affection

Second, let’s remember that the foundation of this affection is in the death of Christ and our union with him. The reason I make this one of my points is that Paul draws attention to it eight times. Eight times he refers to these precious friends as being in Christ or in the Lord. Verse 7: “in Christ.” Verse 8: “in the Lord.” Verse 9: “in Christ.” Verse 10: “in Christ.” Verse 11: “in the Lord.” Verse 12 (two times): “in the Lord . . . in the Lord.” Verse 13: “in the Lord.”

What is the point of referring so often to very precious friends as being in Christ or in the Lord? It comes from a very intense feeling of being rescued from infinitely long suffering at infinitely great cost and then placed together into an infinitely safe and happy place. Listen to Romans 5:9. “Since . . . we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” And Romans 8:1. “There is . . . now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We have been rescued from infinitely long suffering, namely, the wrath of God. We have been rescued at infinitely great cost, namely, his blood—the blood of Christ. And then, put together into an infinitely safe and happy place, namely, in Christ Jesus.

Have you ever watched on television as trapped miners are rescued after being hundreds of feet underground for days with their families keeping vigil on the ground above? When they come out, they are not the only ones hugging and kissing. Everybody is hugging. There is something deeply bonding about a family defined by imminent loss and glorious rescue, safe on solid ground, surrounded by people they wouldn’t trade for all the gold in the world.
Experiencing the Gospel Again and Again

The foundation of Paul’s profound affection for these people is that he knows that he stood with them on the precipice of the wrath of God called hell, where he and they deserve to be today, and that he and they were snatched to safety by the Son of God as he went over that precipice. And they stand trembling, happy, hugging on solid ground, namely, in Christ. That’s why he says in Christ and in the Lord eight times. That’s where Paul lives with them.

We were in as much danger as we could possibly be in—together. And now, we are as safe in Christ as we can possibly be—together. This was so real for Paul he could still smell the flames. He could feel still feel the ice in this thighs as he looked over the edge of the abyss into the wrath of God. And now, rescued by Christ, and living in Christ, nobody looks the same anymore. Everybody here in Christ is blood-bought and safe."

October 17, 2006

Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers

Ron Luce praying with teens at "Teen Mania", which has entertained 2 million youth in the last 15 years at their events.

Data from all sides indicates that evangelical churches are in big trouble with their youth. In spite of all the money spent to "relate" to young people and with all the staff dedicated to evangelizing and mobilizing youth, they are leaving the church in droves.

New York Times writer Laurie Goodstein states,

"Despite their packed megachurches, their political clout and their increasing visibility on the national stage, evangelical Christian leaders are warning one another that their teenagers are abandoning the faith in droves.

Their alarm has been stoked by a highly suspect claim that if current trends continue, only 4 percent of teenagers will be “Bible-believing Christians” as adults. That would be a sharp decline compared with 35 percent of the current generation of baby boomers, and before that, 65 percent of the World War II generation.

For instace, she quotes Ron Luce, founder of Teen Mania.

"More than two million teenagers have attended in the last 15 years... That’s more than Paul McCartney has pulled in,” Mr. Luce asserted, before bounding onstage for the opening pyrotechnics and a prayer.

For the next two days, the teenagers in the arena pogoed to Christian bands, pledged to lead their friends to Christ and sang an anthem with the chorus, “We won’t be silent.” Hundreds streamed down the aisles for the altar call and knelt in front of the stage, some weeping openly as they prayed to give their lives to God.

My perspective on this: Millions of Church dollars are spent on youth ministry staffing and budgets as well as events with hip entertainment for millions and kids and almost nothing to show for it. This is nothing more than the results of setting aside God's revealed methods of evangelism and discipleship (Deuteronomy 6:1-9).

For the rest of the article, click link below

October 16, 2006

Marrieds - The New Minority in America

Here is a post on The Long War Against Creation Order Doctrines

New York Times author, Sam Roberts has reported that for the first time in American history, married people are outnumbered by the unmarried, making for a new minority.

Over the last century guidelines for marriage outlined in scripture have been progressively set aside. For example, he states that , "In 1930, married couples accounted for 84 percent of households in the U.S. By 1990 that number had declined to about 56 percent. In 2005 it slipped to 49.7 percent. "

He says that divorce, later marriages, cohabitation and homosexuality are the primary culprits. In each of these there is a devaluation or rebellion against scriptural teaching on these matters. As the trend continues, it is easy to see that we are headed for the kind of perspective on marriage that reigns in Sweden, where most people don't bother to get married anymore.

This is what happens in a culture when the creation order doctrines are ignored.

October 13, 2006

Sending Children to Public School as "Salt and Light"

Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Ky, comments on the argument that we should send our children to public schoos to be "salt and light". He says,

“I don't think God calls upon Christian parents to put our children in the schools as guinea pigs as salt and light. I'll be honest. I just don't think that at all is the biblical vision. The public schools are an innovation. They are not a fact of nature. And there's an agenda behind them. During the age of the 20th century the agenda was making American citizens. The central ideological character behind that was John Dewey, who taught most extensively at teachers college at Columbia University. He really set the agenda for the public schools nationwide in terms of separating children from their parents, in terms of ethnicity, in language and creating a common culture. He was explicitly anti-Christian. He wanted a common faith that had nothing to do with belief in God… I don't think the salt and light argument has to do with putting our children under the authority of persons who are going to teach the opposite of what we believe.”

I was asked by someone the other day, 'Why would you not allow your children to be in the public schools, and when they come home talk about the same issues and then correct whatever they have been learning from those who oppose what you believe?'

There are about two or three reasons for that. Number one, those school teachers often have kids, in terms of their attentive time, more than even parents--that they're outside the home, they're in the sphere of the school's control. Secondly especially for young children, I think the introduction of authorities other than parents, who are going to teach in contradiction of what the parent thinks, is a very dangerous thing. When you've got elementary kids saying, 'I know this is what Mom and Dad say but the teacher, who's got a college degree and she's got a master's degree, she's accredited.' When she has this kind of credibility I don't think that's something I want to do.

Transcript from radio program May 4, 2006

Family Integrated Thinking Comes to Southern Baptist Seminary

Randy Stinson (This is an outdated picture - he has two more young children not pictured)

Randy Stinson, who has been a warrior defending the creation order doctrines regarding manhod and womanhood for many years, has been appointed Dean of the School of Leadership and Church Ministry at Southern Seminary in Louisville Ky. He has always been an inspiration to me and I believe that his work in the last few years at CBMW has been one of the most significant influences in the theological community in America to reconsider the feminist hermeneutic. And he has been instrumental in challenging the feminized christian culture we have grown to accept as normal. For the last few years I have watched Randy labor over these issues in spite of the fact that many people in the church could not have cared less. Regardless, Randy deliberately and patiently continued to sweat and risk his reputation over critical theological issues, when many in the church were either yawning indifferently, or criticizing him or just happily sipping their (feminist) tea.

He has some interesting and groundbreaking objectives for his students:

New dean communicates family-centered vision for SBTS leadership school to trustees

October 13, 2006By Jeff Robinson

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The School of Leadership and Church Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will take a new approach to equipping students for local church ministry, but it will be centered around creation’s oldest institution—the family, new dean Randy Stinson told seminary trustees Tuesday during the board’s annual fall meeting.

In recent years churches have fragmented families by segregating them according to gender, age or other categories, Stinson said. Southern Seminary hopes to change that by teaching future leaders how to integrate local church ministries in a way that builds healthier families and churches, Stinson said. "

for more:

October 02, 2006

God's Kindness in Using Our Deprivations Here on This Earth to Woo us To Himself

The kindness of God is everywhere... even in the things He witholds from us.

Elisabeth Elliot says,

"Heaven is not here, it's there. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself, and His still invisible kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for."

Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart

September 29, 2006

Spurgeon on the Salvation of Children

“It is very grievous to see how some professedly Christian parents are satisfied so long as their children display cleverness in learning, or sharpness in business, although they show no signs of a renewed nature. If they pass their examinations with credit and promise to be well fitted for the worlds battle, their parents forget that there is a superior conflict, involving a higher crown, for which the child will need to be fitted by divine grace and armed with the whole armor of God. Alas, if our children lose the crown of life, it will be but a small consolation that they have won the laurels of literature or art.

Many who ought to know better think themselves superlatively blessed in their children if they become rich, if they marry well, if they strike up into profitable enterprises in trade, or if they attain eminence in the profession which they have espoused. Their parents will go to their beds rejoicing and awake perfectly satisfied, thought their boys are hastening down to hell, if they are also making money by the bushel. They have no greater joy than their children are having their portion in this life and laying up treasure where rust corrupts it. Though neither their sons nor daughters show any signs of the new birth, give no evidence of being rich toward God, manifest no traces of electing love, or redeeming grace or the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, yet there are parents who are content with their condition.

Now, I can say of such professing parents that they have need to question whether they be Christians at all and if they will not question it themselves, they must give some of us leave to hold it in serious debate.

From a sermon, “The Parent’s and Pastors Joy”

September 26, 2006

Interview With Dr. Paul Negrut

Dr. Paul Negrut

At the conclusion of the Uniting Church and Family Pastors Confernce in Romania, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Paul Negrut in his office at Emmanuel University.

He made many profound and memorable remarks. Here is one:

“Here in Romania we do believe in the sufficiency of scripture, but what we do not always realize is that we have head knowledge about the doctrine and do not understand the implications of that doctrine in every area of life. And that there is a huge gap…. It covers our entire lives.

The conference helped us to see that , although we believe in the sufficiency of scripture, we are blind to see how our children have been swallowed up by a secular humanistic government education program. And we saw how easily we have let ourselves go with the flow of a secular culture, not realizing we are transgressing the Word of God.”

For streaming audio of the interview click below:

For more information regarding Uniting Church and Family see and click on "National Center for Family Integrated Churches, or go to

September 24, 2006

Romania Conference Moments

A Father and Beloved Son - Voddie and Trey after Voddie's message at Emmanuel Baptist Church

Paul Negrut and his first grandson, Paul - Look Out World !

Jakob Dumitru, father of eight children, and his family traveled over 10 hours from Bucharest, the capitol of Romania. He is a teacher at a theological high school and Executive Secretary of the Romania Evangelical Alliance.

During a testimony and prayer time Jakob made a powerful correlation between our teaching on the sufficiency of scripture regarding education methods in the church and government schools to the story of Daniel and his refusal to eat the kings delacacies. He said of the three Hebrew children, "they refused to rely on the kings delicacies, but to believe God. They served God whatever the consequences might be – no matter if God will deliver them or not to serve God is much more important than assurace of protection."

John Popoviciu and his very handsome and active son Paul and Sorin Sarb

Paul Negrut, the best friend of every boy, joking around with Trey Baucham...

Marius Cruceru, Professor of Greek and Church History translating for me... (also a martial arts blackbelt and professional guitar player, and founder of a minisry to men called, "Men's Factory")

The Next Generation Being Readied to Rumble

Petru Pascalao, Pastor from Huiedin Romania Petru. became a pastor four months ago and we encouraged him to focus his energies on expository preaching and discipling the men of the church and then we had a time of prayer together.

Sebastian Vaduva, Dean of the School of Management at Emmanuel University

Voddie and Sebastian Enjoying the Moment

September 21, 2006

Romania Pastors Questions on Homeschooling

Radio Voice of the Gospel Studios, Oradea Romania

Today we continued with the conference and during the afternoon break, were whisked to Radio Voice of the Gospel where Director, Daniel Burtic had scheduled us to complete two interviews which broadcast over all of Europe. We did one interview on Uniting Church and Family and another on homeschooling. David and Trey both answered some questions from the interviewer on home schooling.

At the end of the conference day yesterday, there was huge interest in homeschooling during our question and answer session. We were able to give lengthy arguments for homeschooling. The questions they asked were the generic ones that we all asked 25 years ago at the dawn of the US home school movement. Here is a sampling of the actual questions we fielded from the floor:

The socialization question
“Don’t you think that the young men taught at home have a hard time integrating into the society. Would this be impossible.”

The financial question
“If the father and mother work at the same time who takes care of the children at home. That means one of the parents has to stay home. How can this happen.”

The Curriculum question
"What does it mean practically, home schooling from a practical perspective of a relationship with the state – curriculums, evaluation..."

The Work question
How does the work of the father – his workplace - get along with home schooling. Will the mother educate the daughter and the father educate the son. How can the father educate when he is away at work all day.

It was an unusually vigorous and lively discussion. The questions kept coming and we finally had to shut it down.

Paul Negrut invited David Brown and Trey Baucham to explain how homeschooling works

Paul was very supportive and spoke glowingly in favor of what we were teaching. He told me tonight that he firmly believes that whatever losses or trials that might be incurred from taking this position cannot compare with obedience to the Word of God. He is currently the President of the Romanian Baptist Union, President of Emmanuel University and President of the Evangelical Alliance (made up of Baptists, Pentecostals and Brethren. During the Question and answer time he regularly rose up from his seat to take the microphone to lend his support to everything we were saying about home schooling and uniting church and family. He was extremely passionate and forthright on the issues. We would say something and he would affirm it with a story or more instruction.

Steve Breagy and translator Paul Negrut. Steve's is delivering his message on "The Sufficiency of Scripture" which is the launching point for all of our work here. We pray that childlike appreciation, love and obedience to scripture will be the long term legacy of our visit.

Paul wants to schedule us right away as soon as we can return and take us for a countrywide tour explaining the same things we have been explaining this week... and bring families this time.